Toyota C-HR Review
The Toyota C-HR is an agile, sporty-looking crossover with a difference: a hybrid option for better fuel economy
Strengths & weaknesses
- Individual styling
- Low emissions from hybrid version
- Spacious in the front and back
- Restricted visibility at the back
- Automatic gearbox is noisy and jerky
- Boot is small compared with rivals
The compact crossover class continues to grow in popularity with buyers, and there are even more models to choose from , with the arrival of the Toyota C-HR.
It follows a familiar recipe, combining the mechanical parts from a family car (in this case, the Toyota Prius), with a taller shape that provides a higher driving position and more space inside.
Rivals include the highly-rated Seat Ateca, Peugeot 3008 and Nissan Qashqai but really with its eye-catching looks (C-HR stands for Coupe High Rider) and petrol-electric hybrid power option, it’s on its own
Of course, Toyota has form in the hybrid sector, not least with its impressive and long-running Prius. However, unlike the Prius, the C-HR’s petrol engine is all-too eager to cut in and override the electric motor.
This reduces the system’s fuel-saving benefits, although the C-HR’s low emissions attract no road tax (this will change on cars registered after 1 April 2017) and if the batteries are sufficiently charged, there is some electric-only range.
The alternative is the conventional and cheaper 1.2 turbo petrol engine. It’s a little quicker and more enjoyable to drive, especially in manual form, but not as efficient.
It may be a tall car but the C-HR is agile with plenty of grip and good composure in corners. It rides comfortably, too. You can have the 1.2 with four-wheel drive for extra grip when accelerating, although it’s only available with the automatic gearbox (standard with the hybrid version) that can make the engine feel and sound revvy.
Although it looks smaller, the C-HR is actually around the same size as a Nissan Qashqai and has plenty of head and legroom in the front and rear. The boot is only 377 litres so smaller than a Seat Ateca’s, but it’s usefully shaped and the rear seats split and fold.
The interior is stylish and well made. The dashboard curves around the driver, materials are top notch and the contrasting slivers of colour give the cabin a lift. The controls are logically presented, too. That eye-catching styling has resulted in quite deep rear-quarter pillars which can make the rear cabin feel gloomy. But it’s quiet, with little noise tyre and wind noise coming through.
There are three trims, including the mid-range Excel which adds a sat-nav and self-parking to the basic Icon’s climate and cruise control, alloy wheels and Toyota’s Touch 2 infotainment system.